The perimeter alarm was triggered by a singular Undead last night. Max thinks it might have been tracking slowly behind us all day as the Undead sometimes do waiting for the living to stop for a reprieve before inconveniently catching up. Its unexpected arrival was met with a swift and final death but the fear of more of the Undead, especially in the semi-darkness put every last nerve on edge. No one got any rest that night which probably contributed to the accident that occurred today. Not that you can call it an accident. Accidents in this new world are anomalies. All we have now are certainties – if we do not take heed, we will not survive. It’s just that simple. We had decided as a group to scope out a somewhat larger urban area closer to the US border that had not reported any incidences of the Undead as of yet. We were short of certain necessary supplies that we would need to purchase and knew that at some point we had to restock. Our hope was that we could resupply and then get into the US without too much incident. Under the current circumstances, the sooner, the better.
After observing the city for about an hour, we were amazed to see that things looked calm and orderly; like nothing apocalyptic was happening only kilometres away. There were no Undead in sight which was promising, and no one appeared to be in any kind of panicked state. The infection did not look like it had spread this far southwest yet and we could probably get in and get through the city without much of a problem.
We will never make such an assumption again.
As we walked into town we saw that our first and only stop was right on the relative outskirts. One of those big box-stores where you can buy everything from toilet paper to electronics to ammunition. We stocked up with what we needed and should have just backtracked out the way that we had come. Instead we decided to take local transit and cut straight through town. The idea was supposed to save us time, supposed to give us a break. In the end it cost one of us our lives… We got on the bus, and everything looked fine. People seemed happy if not a bit wary of the 5 of us with our guns, gear and gore-pocked clothes. Then I heard the scream of pure fear. The kind of scream that imprints on your soul and chills the marrow in your bones.
One minute he was alive, although he had looked a little under the weather at first glance. The next, he was Undead. Barbara was the first of us to react, mainly because she was the closest to the disturbance occurring towards the rear of the bus. Knowing that firing a gun in such close quarters and with the number of people now trying to get as far away from the newly but ravenous Undead was dangerous and careless, she drew a short spear she fashioned from a fallen maple branch. She lunged at the thing that was once a middle-aged man but the bus took an inopportune moment to travel through a pothole. The bus floor lurched and threw Barbara off-balance, allowing newly dead hands to clasp tightly onto her shoulders.
Before any of us had a chance to react those undead arms were pulling Barbara ever closer. Closer to the open mouth of certain death. Its lips settled into the crook of her neck as those of a lover initiating an intimate interlude. Its teeth could almost be heard biting into her flesh in the comparative silence of that moment. The head jerked back and a surge of crimson burst forth. The hole in Barbara’s neck looked massive, a spot of red on an alabaster background. You could see the panic in her eyes; hear the panic from the other riders. She tried to get her hands up to help staunch the blood but it had too great of a hold on her.
The bus driver pulled over to the curb, opening the doors as he did. Everyone with the ability to exit did so, leaving their belongings behind in their haste. A few people were trapped in the back of the bus, unable for various reasons to pass by the carnage unfolding before them. Everything but their eyes frozen in horror.
In the space of a moment, the Undead dropped Barbara. She had lost a lot of blood, that fact was apparent from the map of it on her clothing, conquering new ground each second in its quest for freedom. The shock in her countenance was plain to see. Shock from the attack as well as shock from blood loss. She wasn’t dead yet but soon she would be. There was no way Ben would have been able to repair the damage done to her neck.
The Undead turned and came at us, its speed still slightly quicker that most mainly from the fact that it still had some oxygen in its blood to help feed the dying muscles. Bob’s rage in that moment was palpable. Barbara lay dying and now it was coming for more of us. He pulled out his hunting knife and with a swift and powerful arc; he sliced through its neck almost completely. His aim was kissed by pure chance, or maybe it was a little skill. Its head hung on for the briefest of moments only by the strength of a few tendons but as the body went limp the last remaining vestiges tore free. The severed head, still clasping the morsel of Barbara’s flesh in its teeth, tumbled towards the rear of the bus, startling a response from the frozen passengers. It was as if that was the signal for them to leave and quickly they did.
Our attention immediately turned to Barbara. She had slid down the support pole bolted in the middle of the bus and was now slumped somewhat forward. Her face was so pale in comparison to the pool of blood growing around her. She was bleeding out; the Undead had punctured her carotid artery in its haste to taste her flesh. We knew that it wouldn’t be long before she was dead. And now her blood, her body was infected. One of our biggest fears had befallen us. We would again be charged with killing someone who we cared about. We knew it and Barbara knew it. She quickly told us that she was sorry and then ordered everyone but Bob to leave. She had clearly chosen him to put an end to what she was going to become. She had nominated him to extend to her the final dignity that every living thing deserves. Death.
We knew the moment of her death. It was marked by the cry of soul shattering grief that exited the bus. The single shot of Bob’s firearm ended her reawakening.
Upon exiting the bus Bob looked at no one, only turning to head back out of town. We gathered our supplies and silently fell in behind him. Bystanders tried to engage us, screaming to know what was going on. We had no answers, only warnings. Get out, they’re coming.
None of us spoke for quite some time, all of us lost in our thoughts of Barbara. The first to break the silence was Bob. All he said was this: She didn’t deserve that.
The truth is that no one does. Please do everything you can to avoid that fate. Those are my only words of advice for tonight.